Entradas con Categorías Global Affairs Orden mundial, diplomacia y gobernanza .


ESSAY Álvaro de Lecea Larrañaga

From the moment colonial empires left the African continent and the new republics celebrated their first democratic elections, the issue of election violence has been present in the majority of the countries. It is a problem that has not changed and that keeps disturbing national and international supporters of a peaceful democratization of the African continent. It is not the first time in history we know about election violence in democratic states, such as France during the nineteenth century; nevertheless, the African dynamics are quite peculiar.

Violence, in general terms, has become a political instrument in the African democratic dynamics (Laakso, 2007). Depending on the actor making use of it, the motivation behind it is different. It is also important to take into account the historical, political, socio-cultural and economic context of each country to understand the purposes of the usage of this controversial mechanism. The spur is not the same for the ruling party or the opposition party, or other groups like the youth. Hence the use of violence has a lot of influence in the outcomes of an election process as it is an effective means that shapes the democratic dynamics when it comes to the election of the representatives at all stages of the electoral processes. For example, the ruling parties use it to avoid being removed from their powerful positions and all the benefits that come from them (Mehler, 2007).

This issue of power, with a high level of influence of money, is probably the most common motivation for every actor involved in these dynamics (Muna & Otieno, 2020, pp. 92-111). Not only the ruling powers but the ones trying to substitute them or the ones trying to impose a new order are, in some way, motivated by the powerful positions they could attain. The violence therefore permeates all party structures and is also noticeable within the parties.

The issue of intra-party violence has not received a lot of attention due to more frequency of state inspired violence against the opposition. Yet it is becoming more prevalent especially in political parties that hold power. This is because the belief is usually entrenched that if one represents the ruling party the chances of getting elected get higher. It should also be noted that the risk of intra-party violence increases as inter-party competition decreases, making intra-party violence more common in districts where a single party dominates (Bech Seeberg, Skaaning, & Wahman, 2017).

The timing of the violence is very relevant to understand the problem of election violence. The different three kinds of election violence (pre-election violence, post-election violence and violence during the Election Day) carry different connotations with them (Daxecker, 2013). They are the result of the general context of the country and represent the behaviour of their citizens towards the democratic principles of the nation. This can also be a response to the electoral campaigns of both the ruling and opposition parties, which sometimes involve violent means too.

Pre-election violence is normally recorded within parties as they carry out their primaries to select representatives and during the campaign process in a bid to hinder opponents from getting access to the people. Violence on Election Day is usually designed to disrupt areas where some candidates suspect they will lose or feel the election process has not been fair. While post-election violence is mainly an expression of dissatisfaction with the outcome of the election.

The role of media and international observers are also key for drafting the big picture of the problems involving election violence. These to some extent can escalate the conflict or reduce it. The power of information is huge and these agents are the most reliable sources to the local and international communities. If an international observer, such as a Committee from the United Nations, declares an election fraud, post-election violence is a very possible outcome (Daxecker, 2012). However, the media, and more concretely a trustworthy local media agent, has the power to calm the masses and bring peace.

Finally, the electoral system chosen by each country will also have a direct effect on the violence because of the interests behind the election. The plurality voting is the most used system among African states. These kinds of systems are also known as winner-takes-all, because the winner gets all the power. Even if it is not necessarily a negative system, as successful countries such as France or Brazil also use them, the difference of power between a common citizen and a politician is so big in Africa that the interest of getting those posts is higher (Reynolds, 2009). This will cause that any means justified to get there, including the use of violence.

To further analyze the motivations behind election violence in Africa and the effects it has on the region, and to try to offer a functional solution for this issue the article explores two case studies: Kenya 2007 and Burundi 2010.

African election violence case studies

Kenya 2007

The presidential and parliamentary elections held in Kenya in 2007 are a great example of election violence where external factors had influences on the outcomes. However, these external factors were not the only ones causing the violence. Internal issues such as the historical culture of the country, the electoral system or the will of power were also influential in this case. To understand the big picture, it is always important to analyze every relevant aspect.

Since the first multi-party democratic elections in Kenya, held in 1992, post-election violence has been very present. During the almost thirty years of dictatorship in Kenya after their independence from the British Crown, repression was promoted throughout the whole territory. Abuses of human rights, nepotism, widespread corruption and patronage were very common (Onyebadi & Oyedeji, 2011), therefore Kenyans are used to protest, violently if needed, against political fraud and suppression of their democratic rights.

Mwai Kibaki’s victory in the 2007 elections brought a whole wave of violent protests because of the fraudulent accusations the elections received (Odhiambo Owuor, 2013). Not only the opposition leader Raila Odinga denounced the election as massively rigged, but also the international community did so. As they condemned the election as fraudulent, the United Nations intervened and helped reach a deal between both party leaders. In this case, the violence produced arrived after the elections (post-election violence) and was motivated by the fraudulent accusations made by international and national observers.

The solution reached was to recognize Kibaki as president and to create a new position of Executive Prime Minister for Odinga. Furthermore, they stipulated that cabinet positions were to be shared by the disputants and their political parties. This characteristic outcome was accepted with more enthusiasm by the Kenyan people because it divided the power in more than one person and, therefore, the abuse of it as it had happened before was not so probable. The electoral system, which is explained later on, has helped these abuses to be produced, so this different outcome meant a significant change in the Kenyan policy-making.

In the case of Kenya, media is very relevant, as the two most successful newspapers, the “Daily Nation” and “The Standard”, with a combined strength of 75% market share, do not receive funding from the government. Without falling into sensationalism, these newspapers were able to become agents of peace and reconciliation. As violence raged in the post-election period, the newspapers adopted a thematic approach to reaching a peaceful outcome (Onyebadi & Oyedeji, 2011).

This conflict, apart from the effects it had on the electoral outcome, influenced the economic situation of the country. The annual percentage growth of GDP fell from 6.8% in 2007 to 0.2% in 2008, the annual percentage of GDP per capita growth was negative (-2.5%) and the growth on the percentage of employment regarding total labour force began increasing again in 2008, going from 2.5% that year to 2.7% in 2009 (World Bank, 2020). However, this data is biased because of the economic recession several countries, including Kenya, suffered due to the 2008 financial crisis.

Finally, Kenya’s first-past-the-post single member constituency electoral system gives the electoral winner plenty of power. Moreover, the economic inequality, the domination of the powerful elites of the country who are very influential in the political system and the fact that Kenyan political parties are not usually founded on ideology but serve the ideas of the funders, produce a form of democracy that represents the few rather than the majority. Therefore, it is very complicated to terminate the desire for political power from the Kenyan mindset.

Burundi 2010

Burundi’s history has been marked by the Hutu-Tutsi rivalry. Since it got independence in 1962, the ethnic cleavages between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi have been remarkable. The 2010 elections are not quite different from the rest, as the outcomes resulted in boycotts and violence. Burundi is a country that has used violence as a tool of solving conflicts several times and has a violent historic precedent regarding “democratic” elections (Mehler, 2007). Several prime ministers and presidents from the different ethnic groups have been assassinated throughout Burundi’s democratic history, which has led to a series of coups and ethnic clashes.

During the 2010 elections, the United Nations also sent a mission to observe the democratic process followed. They affirmed that the winning party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD–FDD), were able to campaign throughout the country, whereas the opposition parties had much less visibility (Palmans, n.d.).

The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), which is supposed to organize, conduct and supervise the elections independently from any party were not as transparent as they were meant to and didn’t respect the rights of the political parties, which caused the boycott led by the opposition (Niang, n.d.). In Burundi too, elections have mainly been a struggle for power as a means of gaining access to economic resources through control of the state. So, the tensions have always been great during elections. Thus, violence tends to be used by nearly every actor involved.

The peculiarity within this case is that the violence didn’t only take place after knowing the results of the elections, but also before the Election Day. Pre-election violence came as a consequence of systematic disagreement between CNDD-FDD and opposition parties. Although several institutions were created to ensure the legality and transparency of the election, such as the CENI, the CNDD-FDD tried to arrange the legal and institutional context to force the process into its advantage and ensure its victory against the opposition.

The pre-election violence transformed into post-election violence leading to the main opposition leader, Agathon Rwasa, having to flee the country. Even though the violence was not as widespread as in Kenya, the situation remained tense in the country. The results didn’t change, and the political rivalries were further entrenched. In this case, the use of violence and coupled with display of power won the elections which created more fear and despair within the population.


Election violence is very common in several countries over the world, with an emphasis on Africa. There, it has become some kind of political instrument which, despite being anti-democratic by nature, is part of the policymaking, campaigning and electoral process. It is different depending on the timing it appears and plenty of factors influence its appearance and control. Within the most remarkable we can find the role of international and national observers, the role of the media, both national and international, and the will of power, usually linked to the economic benefits the winner receives. Furthermore, depending on who the actor is making use of it, the factors behind it can change drastically.

After having analyzed the two case studies, Kenya 2008 and Burundi 2010, and having interpreted the impact these issues have had in their internal socio-economic parameters, it is also obvious that these anti-democratic practices do have some impact in every aspect of the society involved in it. Its most remarkable influence can be seen on the election outcome. In both cases, violence was key for establishing the results. In the case of Kenya, it was the motor that boosted a change in the policymaking, and in the case of Burundi, it helped the winning party keep the power.

The three main factors that influence this kind of policymaking and that should be reviewed and, if necessary, modified to end the violence are the electoral system most African countries follow, the ethnic nature of violence and the common African mindset regarding power. The majority of the electoral systems followed in Africa are winner-takes-all systems that makes it hard for the loser to give up power and lose the benefits it brings. Also, as the case of Burundi has shown, ethnic rivalries are a very common reason motivating the violent outcomes of elections, even if the state follows a democratic regime. This, together with the great will of power present on the African societies, demonstrated by the intra- and inter-party violence, provokes the unsustainable situation present nowadays.


Bank, W. (2020). World Bank Database. Retrieved from

Bech Seeberg, M., Skaaning, S.-E., & Wahman, M. (2017). Candidate nomination, Intra-party Democracy, and Election Violence in Africa. ResearchGate.

Daxecker, U. E. (2012). The cost of exposing cheating: International election monitoring, fraud, and post-election violence in Africa. Journal of Peace Research.

Daxecker, U. E. (2013). All quiet on Election Day? International election observation and incentives for pre-election violence in African elections. Electoral Studies, 1-12.

Laakso, L. (2007). Insights into Electoral Violence in Africa. En M. Basedau, G. Erdmann, & A. Mehler, Votes, Money and Violence: Political Parties and Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa (págs. 224-252). South Africa: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.

Mehler, A. (2007). Political Parties and Violence in Africa: Systematic Reflections against Empirical Background. In M. Basedau, G. Erdmann, & A. Mehler, Votes, Money and Violence: Political Parties and Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa (pp. 194-223). South Africa: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.

Muna, W., & Otieno, M. (2020). The ‘Money Talks Factor’ in Kenya’s Public Policy and Electoral Democracy.

Niang, M. A. (n.d.). Case study: Burundi. EISA.

Odhiambo Owuor, F. (2013). The 2007 General Elections in Kenya: Electoral Laws and Process. EISA, 113-123.

Onyebadi, U., & Oyedeji, T. (2011). Newspaper coverage of post-political election violence in Africa: an assessment of the Kenyan example. Media, War & Conflict, 215-230.

Palmans, E. (n.d.). Burundi's 2010 Elections: Democracy and Peace at Risk? European Centre for Electoral Support.

Reynolds, A. (2009). Elections, Electoral Systems, and Conflict in Africa. The Brown Journal of World Affairs, 75-83.

Categorías Global Affairs: África Orden mundial, diplomacia y gobernanza Ensayos

The wave of diplomatic recognition of Israel by some Arab countries constitutes a shift in regional alliances

Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates [Pixabay]

▲ Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates [Pixabay]

ANALYSIS / Ann M. Callahan

With the signing of the Abraham Accords, seven decades of enmity between the states were concluded. With a pronounced shift in regional alliances and a convergence of interests crossing traditional alignments, the agreements can be seen as a product of these regional changes, commencing a new era of Arab-Israeli relations and cooperation. While the historic peace accords seem to present a net positive for the region, it would be a mistake to not take into consideration the losing party in the deal; the Palestinians. It would also be a error to dismiss the passion with which many people still view the Palestinian issue and the apparent disconnect between the Arab ruling class and populace.

On the 15th of September, 2020, a joint peace deal was signed between the State of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and the United States, known also as the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement. The Accords concern a treaty of peace, and a full normalization of the diplomatic relations between the United Emirates and the State of Israel. The United Arab Emirates stands as the first Persian Gulf state to normalize relations with Israel, and the third Arab state, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. The deal was signed in Washington on September 15 by the UAE’s Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. It was accepted by the Israeli cabinet on the 12th of October and was ratified by the Knesset (Israel’s unicameral parliament) on the 15th of October. The parliament and cabinet of the United Arab Emirates ratified the agreement on the 19th of October. On the same day, Bahrain confirmed its pact with Israel through the Accords, officially called the Abraham Accords: Declaration of Peace, Cooperation, and Constructive Diplomatic and Friendly Relations. Signed by Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the President of the United States Donald Trump as a witness, the ratification indicates an agreement between the signatories to commence an era of alliance and cooperation towards a more stable, prosperous and secure region. The proclamation acknowledges each state's sovereignty and agrees towards a reciprocal opening of embassies and as well as stating intent to seek out consensus regarding further relations including investment, security, tourism and direct flights, technology, healthcare and environmental concerns.

The United States played a significant role in the accords, brokering the newly signed agreements. President of the United States, Donald Trump, pushed for the agreements, encouraging the relations and negotiations and promoting the accords, and hosting the signing at the White House.

As none of the countries involved in the Abraham Accords had ever fought against each other, these new peace deals are not of the same weight or nature as Egypt’s peace deal with Israel in 1979. Nevertheless, the accords are much more than a formalizing of what already existed. Now, whether or not the governments collaborated in secret concerning security and intelligence previously, they will now cooperate publicly through the aforementioned areas.  For Israel, Bahrain and the UAE, the agreements pave a path for the increase of trade, investment, tourism and technological collaboration. In addition to these gains, a strategic alliance against Iran is a key motivator as the two states and the U.S. regard Iran as the chief threat to the region’s stability.


What was the rationale for this diplomatic breakthrough and what prompted it to take place this year? It could be considered to be a product of the confluence of several pivotal impetuses.

The accords are seen as a product of a long-term trajectory and a regional reality where over the course of the last decade Arab states, particularly around the Gulf, have begun to shift their priorities. The UAE, Bahrain and Israel had found themselves on the same side of more than one major fissure in the Middle East. These states have also sided with Israel regarding Iran. Saudi Arabia, too, sees Shiite Iran as a major threat, and while, as of now, it has not formalized relations with Israel, it does have ties with the Hebrew state. This opposition to Tehran is shifting alliances in the region and bringing about a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern powers.

Furthermore, opposition to the Sunni Islamic extremist groups presents a major threat to all parties involved. The newly aligned states all object to Turkey’s destabilizing support of the Muslim Brotherhood and its proxies in the regional conflicts in Gaza, Libya and Syria. Indeed, the signatories’ combined fear of transnational jihadi movements, such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS derivatives, has aligned their interests closer to each other.

In addition, there has been a growing frustration and fatigue with the Palestinian Cause, one which could seem interminable. A certain amount of patience has been lost and Arab nations that had previously held to the Palestinian cause have begun to follow their own national interests.  Looking back to late 2017, when the Trump administration officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, had it been a decade earlier there would have been widespread protests and resulting backlash from the regional leaders in response, however it was not the case. Indeed, there was minimal criticism. This may indicate that, at least for the regional leaders, that adherence to the Palestinian cause is lessening in general.

The prospects of closer relations with the economically vibrant state of Israel, and by extension with that of the United States is increasingly attractive to many Arab states. Indeed, expectations of an arms sale of U.S. weapon systems to the UAE, while not written specifically into the accords, is expected to come to pass through a side agreement currently under review by Congress.

From the perspective of Israel, the country has gone through a long political crisis with, in just one year alone, three national elections. In the context of these domestic efforts, prime minister Netanyahu raised propositions of annexing more sections of the contended West Bank. Consequently, the UAE campaigned against it and Washington called for Israel to choose between prospects of annexation or normalization. The normalization was concluded in return for suspending the annexation plans. There is debate regarding whether or not the suspending of the plans are something temporary or a permanent cessation of the annexation. There is a discrepancy between the English and Arabic versions of the joint treaty. The English version declared that the accord “led to the suspension of Israel’s plans to extend its sovereignty.” This differs slightly, however significantly, from the Arabic copy in which “[the agreement] has led to Israel’s plans to annex Palestinian lands being stopped.” This inconsistency did not go unnoticed to the party most affected; the Palestinians. There is a significant disparity between a temporary suspension as opposed to a complete stopping of annexation plans.

For Netanyahu, being a leading figure in a historic peace deal bringing Israel even more out of its isolation without significant concessions would certainly boost his political standing in Israel. After all, since Israel's creation, what it has been longing for is recognition, particularly from its Arab neighbors.

Somewhat similarly to Netanyahu, the Trump Administration had only to gain through the concluding of the Accords. The significant accomplishment of a historic peace deal in the Middle East was certainly a benefit especially leading up to the presidential elections, the which took place earlier this November. On analyzing the Administration’s approach towards the Middle East, its strategy clearly encouraged the regional realignment and the cultivation of the Gulf states’ and Israel’s common interests, culminating in the joint accords.


As a whole, the Abraham Accords seem to have broken the traditional alignment of Arab States in the Middle East. The fact that normalization with Israel has been achieved without a solution to the Palestinian issue is indicative of the shift in trends among Arab nations which were previously staunchly adherent to the Palestinian cause. Already, even Sudan, a state with a violent past with Israel, has officially expressed its consent to work towards such an agreement. Potentially, other Arab states are thought to possibly follow suit in future normalization with Israel.

Unlike Bahrain and the UAE, Sudan has sent troops to fight against Israel in the Arab-Israeli wars. However, following the UAE and Bahrain accords, a Sudan-Israel normalization agreement transpired on October 23rd, 2020. While it is not clear if the agreement solidifies full diplomatic relations, it promotes the normalization of relations between the two countries. Following the announcement of their agreement, the designated foreign minister, Omar Qamar al-Din, clarified that the agreement with Israel was not actually a normalization, rather an agreement to work towards normalization in the future. It is only a preliminary agreement as it requires the approval of an elected parliament before going into force. Regardless, the agreement is a significant step for Sudan as it had previously considered Israel an enemy of the state.

While clandestine relations between Israel and the Gulf states were existent for years, the founding of open relations is a monumental shift. For Israel, putting aside its annexation plans was insignificant in comparison with the many advantages of the Abraham Accords. Contrary to what many expected, no vast concessions were to be made in return for the recognition of sovereignty and establishment of diplomatic ties for which Israel yearns for. In addition, Israel is projected to benefit economically from its new forged relations with the Gulf states between the increased tourism, direct flights, technology and information exchange, commercial relations and investment. Already, following the Accord’s commitment, the US, Israel and the UAE have already established the Abraham Fund. Through the program more than $3 billion dollars will be mobilized in the private sector-led development strategies and investment ventures to promote economic cooperation and profitability in the Middle East region through the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Israel and the UAE.

The benefits of the accords extend to a variety of areas in the Arab world including, most significantly, possible access to U.S. defense systems. The prospect of the UAE receiving America’s prestigious F-35 systems is in fact underway. President Trump, at least, is willing to make the sale. However, it has to pass through Congress which has been consistently dedicated to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. According to the Senate leader Mitch McConnell (Rep, KY), “We in congress have an obligation to review any U.S. arm sale package linked to the deal [...] As we help our Arab partners defend against growing threats, we must continue ensuring that Israel’s qualitative military edge remains unchallenged.” Should the sale be concluded, it will stand as the second largest sale of U.S. arms to one particular nation, and the first transfer of lethal unmanned aerial systems to any Arab ally. The UAE would be the first Arab country to possess the Lockheed Martin 5th generation stealth jet, the most advanced on the market currently.

There is debate within Israel regarding possible UAE acquisition of the F-35 systems. Prime Minister Netanyahu did the whole deal without including the defense minister and the foreign minister, both political rivals of Netanyahu in the Israeli system. As can be expected, the Israeli defense minister does have a problem regarding the F-35 systems. However, in general, the Accords are extremely popular in Israel.

Due to Bahrain’s relative dependence on Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s close ties, it is very likely that it sought out Saudi Arabia’s approval before confirming its participation in the Accords. The fact that Saudi Arabia gave permission to Bahrain could be seen as indicative, to a certain extent, of their stance on Arab-Israeli relations. However, the Saudi state has many internal pressures preventing it, at least for the time being, from establishing relations.

For over 250 years, the ruling Saudi family has had a particular relationship with the clerical establishment of the Kingdom. Many, if not the majority of the clerics would be critical of what they would consider an abandonment of Palestine. Although Mohammed bin Salman seems more open to ties with Israel, his influential father, Salman bin Abdulaziz sides with the clerics surrounding the matter.

Differing from the United Arab Emirates, for example, Saudi Arabia gathers a notable amount of its legitimacy through its protection of Muslims and promotion of Islam across the world. Since before the establishment of the state of Israel, the Palestinian cause has played a crucial role in Saudi Arabia’s regional activities. While it has not prevented Saudi Arabia from engaging in undisclosed relations with Israel, its stance towards Palestine inhibits a broader engagement without a peace deal for Palestine. This issue connected to a critical strain across the region: that between the rulers and the ruled. One manifestation of this discrepancy between classes is that there seems to be a perception among the people of the region that Israel, as opposed to Iran, is the greater threat to regional security. Saudi Arabia has a much larger population than the UAE or Bahrain and with the extensive popular support of the Palestinian cause, the establishment of relations with Israel could elicit considerable unrest.

While Saudi Arabia has engaged in clandestine ties with Israel and been increasingly obliging towards the state (for instance, opening its air space for Israeli direct flights to the UAE and beyond), it seems unlikely that Saudi Arabia will establish open ties with Israel, at least for the near future.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has only heightened prevailing social, political and economic tensions all throughout the Middle East. Taking this into account, in fear of provoking unrest, it can be expected that many rulers will be hesitant, or at least cautious, about initiating ties with the state of Israel. 

That being said, in today’s hard-pressed Middle East, Arab states, while still backing the Palestinian cause, are more and more disposed to work towards various relations with Israel. Saudi Arabia is arguably the most economically and politically influential Arab state in the region. Therefore, if Saudi Arabia were to open relations with Israel, it could invoke the establishment of ties with Israel for other Arab states, possibly invalidating the longstanding idea that such relations could come about solely though the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Regarding Iran, it cannot but understand the significance and gravity of the Accords and recent regional developments. Just several nautical miles across the Gulf to Iran, Israel has new allies. The economic and strategic advantage that the Accords promote between the countries is undeniable. If Iran felt isolated before, this new development will only emphasize it even more.

In the words of Mike Pompeo, the current U.S. Secretary of State, alongside Bahrain’s foreign minister, Abdullatif Al-Zayani, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the accords “tell malign actors like the Islamic Republic of Iran that their influence in the region is waning and that they are ever more isolated and shall forever be until they change their direction.”

Apart from Iran, in the Middle East Turkey and Qatar have been openly vocal in their opposition to Israel and the recent Accords. Qatar maintains relations with two of Israel’s most critical threats, both Iran and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group. Qatar is a staunch advocate of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. One of Qatar’s most steady allies in the region is Turkey. Israel, as well as the UAE, have significant issues with Ankara. Turkey’s expansion and building of military bases in Libya, Sudan and Somalia demonstrate the regional threat that it poses for Israel and the UAE. For Israel in particular, besides Turkey’s open support of Hamas, there have been clashes concerning Ankara’s interference with Mediterranean maritime economic sovereignty.

With increasing intensity, the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has made clear Turkey’s revisionist actions. They harshly criticized UAE’s normalization with Israel and even said that they would consider revising Ankara’s relations with Abu Dhabi. This, however, is somewhat incongruous as Turkey has maintained formal diplomatic relations with Israel since right after its birth in 1949. Turkey’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the region, including in Qatar, is also a source of contention between Erdogan and the UAE and Israel, as well as Saudi Arabia. Turkey is Qatar’s largest beneficiary politically, as well as militarily.

In the context of the Abraham Accords, the Palestinians would be the losers undoubtedly. While they had a weak negotiating hand to begin with, with the decreasing Arab solidarity they depend on, they now stand even feebler. The increasing number of Arab countries normalizing relations with Israel has been vehemently condemned by the Palestinians, seeing it as a betrayal of their cause. They feel thoroughly abandoned. It leaves the Palestinians with very limited options making them severely more debilitated. It is uncertain, however, whether this weaker position will steer Palestinians towards peacemaking with Israel or the contrary. 

While the regional governments seem more willing to negotiate with Israel, it would be a severe mistake to disregard the fervor with which countless people still view the Palestinian conflict. For many in the Middle East, it is not so much a political stance as a moral obligation. We shall see how this plays out concerning the disparity between the ruling class and the populace of Arab or Muslim majority nations. Iran will likely continue to advance its reputation throughout the region as the only state to openly challenge and oppose Israel. It should amass some amount of popular support, increasing yet even more the rift between the populace and the ruling class in the Middle East.

Future prospects

The agreement recently reached between President Trump’s Administration and the kingdom of Morocco by which the U.S. governments recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara in exchange for the establishment of official diplomatic relations between the kingdom and the state of Israel is but another step in the process Trump would have no doubt continued had he been elected for a second term. Despite this unexpected move, and although the Trump Administration has indicated that other countries are considering establishing relations with Israel soon, further developments seem unlikely before the new U.S. Administration is projected to take office this January of 2021. President-elect Joe Biden will take office on the 20th of January and is expected to instigate his policy and approach towards Iran. This could set the tone for future normalization agreements throughout the region, depending on how Iran is approached by the incoming administration.

In the United States, the signatories of the Abraham Accords have, in a time of intensely polarized politics, enhanced their relations with both Republicans as well as Democrats though the deal. In the future we can expect some countries to join the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan in normalization efforts. However, many will stay back. Saudi Arabia remains central in the region regarding future normalization with Israel. As is the case across the region, while the Arab leaders are increasingly open to ties with Israel, there are internal concerns, between the clerical establishment and the Palestinian cause among the populace – not to mention rising tensions due to the ongoing pandemic. 

However, in all, the Accords break the strongly rooted idea that it would take extensive efforts in order for Arab states to associate with Israel, let alone establish full public normalization. It also refutes the traditional Arab-state consensus that there can be no peace with Israel until the Palestinian issue is en route to resolution, if not fully resolved.

Categorías Global Affairs: Oriente Medio Orden mundial, diplomacia y gobernanza Análisis

Behind the tension between Qatar and its neighbors is the Qatari ambitious foreign policy and its refusal to obey

Recent diplomatic contacts between Qatar and Saudi Arabia have suggested the possibility of a breakthrough in the bitter dispute held by Qatar and its Arab neighbors in the Gulf since 2017. An agreement could be within reach in order to suspend the blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain (and Egypt), and clarify the relations the Qataris have with Iran. The resolution would help Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup free of tensions. This article gives a brief context to understand why things are the way they are.

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, one of the premises for the 2020 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

▲ Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, one of the premises for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

ARTICLE / Isabelle León

The diplomatic crisis in Qatar is mainly a political conflict that has shown how far a country can go to retain leadership in the regional balance of power, as well as how a country can find alternatives to grow regardless of the blockade of neighbors and former trading partners. In 2017, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain broke diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a blockade on land, sea, and air.

When we refer to the Gulf, we are talking about six Arab states: Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait. As neighbors, these countries founded the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 1981 to strengthen their relation economically and politically since all have many similarities in terms of geographical features and resources like oil and gas, culture, and religion. In this alliance, Saudi Arabia always saw itself as the leader since it is the largest and most oil-rich Gulf country, and possesses Mecca and Medina, Islam’s holy sites. In this sense, dominance became almost unchallenged until 1995, when Qatar started pursuing a more independent foreign policy.

Tensions grew among neighbors as Iran and Qatar gradually started deepening their trading relations. Moreover, Qatar started supporting Islamist political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, considered by the UAE and Saudi Arabia as terrorist organizations. Indeed, Qatar acknowledges the support and assistance provided to these groups but denies helping terrorist cells linked to Al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State or Hamas. Additionally, with the launch of the tv network Al Jazeera, Qatar gave these groups a means to broadcast their voices. Gradually the environment became tense as Saudi Arabia, leader of Sunni Islam, saw the Shia political groups as a threat to its leadership in the region.

Consequently, the Gulf countries, except for Oman and Kuwait, decided to implement a blockade on Qatar. As political conditioning, the countries imposed specific demands that Qatar had to meet to re-establish diplomatic relations. Among them there were the detachment of the diplomatic ties with Iran, the end of support for Islamist political groups, and the cessation of Al Jazeera's operations. Qatar refused to give in and affirmed that the demands were, in some way or another, a violation of the country's sovereignty.

A country that proves resilient

The resounding blockade merited the suspension of economic activities between Qatar and these countries. Most shocking was, however, the expulsion of the Qatari citizens who resided in the other GCC states. A year later, Qatar filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice on grounds of discrimination. The court ordered that the families that had been separated due to the expulsion of their relatives should be reunited; similarly, Qatari students who were studying in these countries should be permitted to continue their studies without any inconvenience. The UAE issued an injunction accusing Qatar of halting the website where citizens could apply for UAE visas as Qatar responded that it was a matter of national security. Between accusations and statements, tensions continued to rise and no real improvement was achieved.

At the beginning of the restrictions, Qatar was economically affected because 40% of the food supply came to the country through Saudi Arabia. The reduction in the oil prices was another factor that participated on the economic disadvantage that situation posed. Indeed, the market value of Qatar decreased by 10% in the first four weeks of the crisis. However, the country began to implement measures and shored up its banks, intensified trade with Turkey and Iran, and increased its domestic production. Furthermore, the costs of the materials necessary to build the new stadiums and infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup increased; however, Qatar started shipping materials through Oman to avoid restrictions of UAE and successfully coped with the status quo.

This notwithstanding, in 2019, the situation caused almost the rupture of the GCC, an alliance that ultimately has helped the Gulf countries strengthen economic ties with European Countries and China. The gradual collapse of this organization has caused even more division between the blocking countries and Qatar, a country that hosts the largest military US base in the Middle East, as well as one of Turkey, which gives it an upper hand in the region and many potential strategic alliances.

The new normal or the beginning of the end?

Currently, the situation is slowly opening-up. Although not much progress has been made through traditional or legal diplomatic means to resolve this conflict, sports diplomacy has played a role. The countries have not yet begun to commercialize or have allowed the mobility of citizens, however, the event of November 2019 is an indicator that perhaps it is time to relax the measures. In that month, Qatar was the host of the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup tournament in which the Gulf countries participated with their national soccer teams. Due to the blockade, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain had boycotted the championship; however, after having received another invitation from the Arabian Gulf Cup Federation, the countries decided to participate and after three years of tensions, sent their teams to compete. The sporting event was emblematic and demonstrated how sport may overcome differences.

Moreover, recently Saudi Arabia has given declarations that the country is willing to engage in the process to lift-up the restrictions. This attitude toward the conflict means, in a way, improvement despite Riyadh still claims the need to address the security concerns that Qatar generates and calls for a commitment to the solution. As negotiations continue, there is a lot of skepticism between the parties that keep hindering the path toward the resolution.  

Donald Trump’s administration recently reiterated its cooperation and involvement in the process to end Qatar's diplomatic crisis. Indeed, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien stated that the US hopes in the next two months there would be an air bridge that will allow the commercial mobilization of citizens. The current scenario might be optimistic, but still, everything has remained in statements as no real actions have been taken. This participation is within the US strategic interest because the end of this rift can signify a victorious situation to the US aggressive foreign policy toward Iran and its desire to isolate the country. This situation remains a priority in Trump’s last days in office. Notwithstanding, as the transition for the administration of Joe Biden begins, it is believed that he would take a more critical approach on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, pressuring them to put an end to the restrictions.

This conflict has turned into a political crisis of retention of power or influence over the region. It is all about Saudi Arabia’s dominance being threatened by a tiny yet very powerful state, Qatar. Although more approaches to lift-up the rift will likely begin to take place and restrictions will gradually relax, this dynamic has been perceived by the international community and the Gulf countries themselves as the new normal. However, if the crisis is ultimately resolved, mistrust and rivalry will remain and will generate complications in a region that is already prone to insurgencies and instability. All the countries involved indeed have more to lose than to gain, but three years have been enough to show that there are ways to turn situations like these around.

Categorías Global Affairs: Oriente Medio Orden mundial, diplomacia y gobernanza Artículos

Soft power in the regional race for gaining the upper hand in the cultural and heritage influence among Muslims

A picture taken from the Kingdoms of Fire official trailer

▲ A picture taken from the Kingdoms of Fire official trailer

ANALYSIS Marina García Reina and Pablo Gurbindo

Kingdoms of Fire (in Arabic Mamalik al nar) is the new Emirati and Saudi funded super-production launched in autumn 2019 and born to face the Turkish control in the TV series and shows field for years. The production has counted on a budget of US$ 14 million. The series goes through the story of the last Sultan of Mamluk Egypt, Al-Ashraf Tuman Bay, in his fight against the Ottoman Sultan Selim. The production is the reflection of the regional rivalries in the race for gaining the upper hand in the cultural and heritage influence among Muslims.


To understand the controversy this series has arisen we have to comprehend the context where the story takes place and the main characters of the story. The series talks about the Ottoman conquest of the Mamluk Sultanate of 1517. The Ottomans are already known for the general public, but who were the Mamelukes?

A Mameluke is not an ethnic group, it is a military class. The term comes from the Arab mamluk (owned) and it defines a class of slave soldiers. These mamluks had more rights than a common slave as they could carry weapons and hold positions of military responsibility. They were created in the ninth century by the Abbasid Caliphs with the purchase of young slaves and their training on martial and military skills. They became the base of military power in the Middle East. This military elite, similar to the Roman Praetorian Guard, was very powerful and could reach high positions in the military and in the administration. Different groups of mamelukes rebelled against their Caliphs masters, and in Egypt they successfully claimed the Caliphate in 1250, starting the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and Syria. Their military prowess was demonstrated in 1260 in the battle of Ain Yalut where they famously defeated the Great Mongol Empire and stopped its expansion towards the west.

The Ottoman Empire was formed as one of the independent Turkish principalities that appeared in Anatolia after the fall of the Sultanate of Rum in the thirteenth century. It rapidly expanded across Anatolia and also reached the Balkans confronting the Byzantine Empire, direct heir of the Roman Empire. In 1453, after a long siege, they conquered Constantinople, sealing the fate of the Byzantine Empire.

By the sixteenth century, the Ottomans and the Mamluks were the two main powers of the Middle East, and as a perfect example of the “Thucydides trap”, the conflict between these two regional powers became inevitable. In 1515, Ottoman Sultan Selim I launched a campaign to subdue the Mamelukes. Incidentally, this is the campaign represented in the Arab series. In October 1516, in the battle of Marj Dabiq, the Mamluk Sultan Al-Ghawri was killed, and Syria fell into Ottoman rule. Tuman Bay II was proclaimed as Sultan and prepared the defense of Egypt. In 1517 the Ottomans entered Egypt and defeated Tuman Bay at the battle of Riadanieh, entering Cairo unopposed. Tuman Bay fled and, supported by the Bedouins, started a guerrilla campaign. But he was betrayed by a Bedouin chief and captured. On April 15, 1517, he was hanged to death on the city gates of Cairo and with him the Mamluk Sultanate ended.

With the end of the Mamluk rule, Egypt became an Ottoman province. The Ottoman control lasted from 1517 until the start of WWI, when the British Empire established a protectorate in the country after the Ottoman Empire entered the war.

A response to Turkish influence

Unlike Saudi Arabia, which until 2012, with the release of Wadjda, had never featured a film shot entirely in the country, other Middle Eastern countries such as Turkey and Iran have taken their first steps in the entertainment industry long before. 

Turkey is a clear example of a country with a well-constituted cinema and art industry, hosting several film festivals throughout the year and having an established cinema industry called Yesilcam, which can be understood as the Turkish version of the US Hollywood or the Indian Bollywood. The first Turkish narrative film was released in 1917. However, it was not till the 1950s when the Turkish entertainment industry truly started to emerge. Yesilcam was born to create a cinema appropriate for the Turkish audience in a period of national identity building and in an attempt to unify multiplicities. Thus, it did not only involve the creation of Turkish original films, but also the adaptation and Turkification of Western cinema. 

One of the reasons that promoted the arising of the Turkish cinema was a need to respond to the Egyptian film industry, which was taking the way in the Middle East during the Second World War. It represents a Turkish nationalist feeling through a cinema that would embrace Turkey’s Ottoman heritage and modern lifestyle. 

Now, Turkish productions are known and watched by audiences worldwide, in more than 140 countries, what has turn Turkey into world’s second largest television shows distributor, generating US$ 350 million a year, only surpassed by the USA.

These Turkish productions embracing the Ottoman period are also a reflection of the current Neo-Ottoman policies carried out by the President Tayyip Erdogan, who many believe is trying to portray himself as a “modern Ottoman ruler and caliph for Muslims worldwide.” It is clear that the Turkish President is aware of the impact of its TV shows, as he stated, in a 2016 speech referring to a Turkish show named “The Last Emperor”—narrating important events during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid—, that the West is treating Turkey in the same way as 130 years ago and, regarding Arabs, he stated that “until the lions start writing their own stories, their hunters will always be the heroes.”

A soft power tool

Communication—especially visual communication and, therefore, cinema—plays an important role in either reinforcing the identity status quo or challenging self-views and other-views of the dynamic, multi-faceted self[1]. It is precisely the own and particular Saudi identity that wants to be portrayed by this series. 

The massive sums invested in the production of Mamalik al nar, as with other historical TV shows, is an evidence of the importance of the exercise of “soft power” by the cinema and TV show industry in the Middle East. As it has been highlighted above, Turkey has been investing in cinema production to export its image to the world for a long time now. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been restrictive when it comes to cinema, not even allowing it within the country in the case of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for more than 35 years, and they have had few interest on producing and promoting self-made cinema. Now this has dramatically changed. Saudis have an interest in translating their self-conception of matters to the world, and communication is a way of contesting and resisting a dominant culture’s encroachment[2] that is being headed by Turkey.

In the words of Yuser Hareb, Genomedia owner (Mamalik al nar’s film production company), the series was born from the idea of creating an alternative to the influence that Turkish productions have within Arabs. The producer argues that the Ottoman Empire period is not much of a glorious heritage for Arabs, but more of a “dark time,” characterised by repression and criminal actions against Arabs. Turkish historic cinema “adjusts less than a 5% to reality,” Hareb says, and Mamalik al Nar is intended to break with the Turkish cultural influence in the Middle East by “vindicating Arab history” and stating that Ottomans were neither the protectors of Islam, nor are the restorers of it.

Dynamics are changing in the region. The Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), the large Emirates-based and Saudi-owned media conglomerate that is one of the strongest broadcasting channel in the Arabic speaking world, was in charge of broadcasting in the Arab countries some of the most famous Turkish dramas since 2007, such as the soap opera Gumus, which final episode had 92 million viewers across the region. In March 2018, MBC rejected several Turkish dramas and it even announced an unofficial moratorium on broadcasting any Turkish series. This decision was praised by the Genomedia owner (the producer of Mamalik al nar), Yuser Hareb, pronouncing against those who passively permit the influence of foreigners with their films and series. Furthermore, MBC is also responsible for the broadcasting of Mamalik al nar in the region. The combination of these movements put together can easily portray a deterioration of Turkish-Arab relations.

Egypt also serves as an example of this anti-Turkish trend, when in September 2014, all Turkish series were banned in response to Erdogan’s support for the Islamist president Mohammed Morsi  (overthrown in July 2013) and his attacks on President Abdelfatah Al-Sisi. This adds to the backing of Turkey of the Muslim Brotherhood and the intromission in Libya to gain regional leadership over the exploration of gas deposits. In short, the backing of Islamist movements constitutes the main argument given when criticising Turkey’s “neo-colonialist” aims, which are not completely denied by the Turkish government as it claims the will to be a restorer for the Muslim world.


Ultimately, both the Turkish and the Saudi Arabian sides have the same opinion of what the other is trying to do: influencing the region by their own idiosyncrasy and cultural heritage. It is indeed the crossfire of accusations against one another for influencing and deceiving the audience about the history of the region, especially regarding who should be praised and who condemned.

Turkish and other pro-Erdogan commentators have described Mamalik al nar as an attempt to foment division between Muslims and attacking the Ottoman legacy. Yasin Aktay, an advisor to Erdogan, remarked that there are no Turkish series that attack any Arab country so far, unlike this Saudi series is doing with the former Ottoman Empire by manipulating “historical data for an ideological or political reason.” Indeed, it is an attack on “the Ottoman State, but also on contemporary Turkey, which represents it today.”

The legacy of the Ottoman Sultanate has been subjected to political and intellectual debate since medieval times. Specifically, after World War I, when a lot of new Arab nation-states started to consolidate, the leaders of these new-born states called for a nationalist feeling by means of an imperialist discourse, drifting apart Turks and Arabs. It is still today a controversial topic in a region that is blooming and which leadership is being disputed, however —and, perhaps, fortunately—, this ideology does not go beyond the ruling class, and neither the great majority of Arabs see the Ottomans as a nation that invaded and exploited them nor the Turks see Arabs as traitors.

No matter how much Erdogan’s Turkey puts the focus on Islam, the big picture of Turkish series is a secular and modern outlook of the region, which has come to be specially interesting to keep up with the region’s changing dynamics. That could be overshadowed by salafist movements restricting freedom of speech in what is considered immoral forms of art by some.

All in all, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are determined to counterbalance Turkey’s effort to increase its regional clout through the use of “soft power” instruments by means of reacting to the abundance of Turkish dramas by launching TV series and shows that offer an “Arab approach” to the matter. In any case, it is still to be seen whether these new Arab productions narrating the ancient history of the Arab territories will have or not a success equivalent to the already consolidated Turkish industry.


[1] Manuel Castells. The rise of network society. (New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).

[2] Thomas K. Nakayama and Raymond J. Krizek. (1995). Whitness: A strategic rhetoric (Quarterly Journal of Speech, 1995), 81, 291–319

Categorías Global Affairs: Oriente Medio Orden mundial, diplomacia y gobernanza Análisis

[Lilia M. Schwarcz y Heloisa M. Starling, Brasil: una biografía (Debate: Madrid, 2016), 896 págs]

RESEÑA / Emili J. Blasco

Brasil: una biografía Presentar la historia de un vasto país como es Brasil en un único volumen, aunque extenso, no es tarea sencilla, si se quiere profundizar lo suficiente. «Brazil. A Biography» (para esta reseña se ha utilizado la edición en inglés de Penguin, de 2019, algo posterior a la publicación de la obra en España; el original en portugués es de 2015) es un relato con la apropiada lente. «Brasil no es para principiantes», dicen las dos autoras en la introducción, expresando con esa cita de un músico brasileño el modo como concibieron el libro: sabiendo que se dirigían a un público con generalmente poco conocimiento sobre el país, debían poder trasladar la complejidad de la vida nacional (de lo que constituye un continente en sí mismo) pero sin que la lectura resulte agónica.

El libro sigue un orden cronológico; no obstante, el hecho de arrancar con algunas consideraciones generales y de construir los primeros capítulos en torno a ciertos sistemas sociales y políticos generados sucesivamente por las plantaciones de caña de azúcar, la esclavitud de población africana y la búsqueda de oro hace que la vida de Brasil avance ante nuestros ojos sin tener la sensación de mero corrimiento de fechas. Más adelante llega un siglo XIX que para los hispanos tiene el interés de ver el negativo de la historia que conocemos respecto a las colonias americanas españolas (frente al caso español, durante las guerras napoleónicas la Corte de Portugal se trasladó entera a Rio de Janeiro y la independencia no derivó en diversas repúblicas, sino en una monarquía propia y centralizada). Y después un siglo XX que en Brasil constituyó un buen compendio de las vicisitudes políticas del mundo contemporáneo: del Estado Novo de Getúlio Vargas, a la dictadura militar y a la restauración de la democracia.

La obra de Schwarcz y Starling, profesoras de la Universidad de São Paulo y de la Universidad Federal de Minas Gerais, respectivamente, pone atención en los procesos políticos, pero arropándolos siempre con los paralelos procesos sociales y culturales que se dan juntos en cualquier país. El volumen aporta mucha información y referencias bibliográficas para todos los periodos históricos de Brasil, sin desconsiderar unos para ocuparse más de otros, y el lector puede detenerse especialmente en aquellos momentos que le resulten de mayor interés.

Personalmente, me he entretenido más en la lectura de cuatro periodos, relativamente distantes entre sí. Por un lado, los intentos de Francia y Holanda en los siglos XVI y XVII por poner un pie en Brasil (no tuvieron éxito permanente, y ambas potencias tuvieron que conformarse con las Guayanas). Después el surgimiento y consolidación en el siglo XVIII de Minas Gerais como tercer vértice del triángulo del heartland brasileño (Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo y Belo Horizonte). Luego la descripción de la vida de una corte de estilo europeo en las circunstancias del clima tropical (la monarquía duró hasta 1889). Y finalmente las experiencias del desarrollismo de mediados del siglo XX, con Juscelino Kubitschek y João Goulart en un tour de force entre el compromiso democrático, el personalismo presidencial y las corrientes de fondo de la Guerra Fría.

La lectura de esta obra aparta numerosas claves para entender mejor ciertos comportamientos de Brasil como país. Por un lado, cómo la inmensidad del territorio y la existencia de zonas a las que difícilmente llega el Estado –es el claro ejemplo de la Amazonia–, otorga un importante papel al Ejército como garante de la continuidad de la nación (el éxito, quizás momentáneo, de Bolsonaro y su apelación a las Fuerzas Armas tiene que ver con eso, aunque esta última presidencia ya no queda incluida en el libro). Por otro, cómo el cuarteamiento del poder territorial entre alcaldes y gobernadores genera una multitud de partidos políticos y obliga a cada candidato presidencial a articular múltiples alianzas y coaliciones, en ocasiones incurriendo en una «compra-venta» de favores que generalmente acaba teniendo un coste para la institucionalidad del país.

La redacción del libro fue concluida antes del colapso de la era gubernamental del Partido de los Trabajadores. Por eso la consideración de los gobiernos de Lula da Silva y Dilma Rousseff es, quizás, algo complaciente, como una suerte de «fin de la historia»: desde el final de la dictadura militar en 1985, el país habría evolucionado en la mejora de su vida democrática y social hasta el tiempo coronado por el PT. El «caso Lava Jato» ha demostrado más bien que «la historia continúa».

Categorías Global Affairs: Orden mundial, diplomacia y gobernanza Reseñas de libros Latinoamérica

COMENTARIO Sebastián Bruzzone

“Hemos fallado… Debimos haber actuado antes frente a la pandemia”. No son palabras de un politólogo, científico o periodista, sino de la propia canciller Angela Merkel dirigiéndose a los otros 27 líderes de la Unión Europea el 29 de octubre de 2020.

Cualquier persona que haya seguido las noticias desde marzo hasta hoy puede darse cuenta fácilmente de que ningún gobierno en el mundo ha sabido controlar la expansión del coronavirus, excepto en un país: Nueva Zelanda. Su primera ministra, la joven Jacinda Ardern, cerró las fronteras el 20 de marzo e impuso una cuarentena de 14 días para los neozelandeses que volviesen del extranjero. Su estrategia “go hard, go early” ha obtenido resultados positivos si se comparan con el resto del planeta: menos de 2.000 infectados y 25 fallecidos desde el inicio de la crisis sanitaria. Y la pregunta es: ¿cómo lo han hecho? La respuesta es relativamente sencilla: su comportamiento unilateral.

Los más escépticos a esta idea pueden pensar que “Nueva Zelanda es una isla y ha sido más fácil de controlar”. Sin embargo, es necesario saber que Japón también es una isla y tiene más de 102.000 casos confirmados, que Australia ha tenido más de 27.000 infectados, o que Reino Unido, que es incluso más pequeño que Nueva Zelanda, tiene más de un millón de contagiados. El porcentaje de casos sobre los habitantes totales de Nueva Zelanda es ínfimo, tan solo un 0,04% de su población ha sido infectada.

Mientras los Estados del mundo esperaban que la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) estableciese unas directrices para dar una respuesta común frente a la crisis mundial, Nueva Zelanda se alejó del organismo desoyendo sus recomendaciones totalmente contradictorias, que el presidente estadounidense Donald J. Trump calificó como “errores mortales” mientras suspendía la aportación americana a la organización. El viceprimer ministro japonés Taro Aro llegó a decir que la OMS debería cambiar de nombre y llamarse “Organización China de la Salud”.

El caso neozelandés es el ejemplo del debilitamiento del multilateralismo actual. Lejos queda aquel concepto de cooperación multilateral que dio origen a la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) tras la Segunda Guerra Mundial, cuyo fin era mantener la paz y la seguridad en el mundo. Los fundamentos de la gobernanza global fueron diseñados por y para Occidente. Las potencias del siglo XX ya no son las potencias del siglo XXI: países emergentes como China, India o Brasil exigen más poder en el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU y en el Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI). La falta de valores y objetivos comunes entre países desarrollados y países emergentes está minando la legitimidad y relevancia de las organizaciones multilaterales del siglo pasado. De hecho, China ya propuso en 2014 la creación del Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) como alternativa al FMI o al Banco Mundial.

La Unión Europea tampoco se salva del desastre multilateral porque tiene atribuida la competencia compartida en los asuntos comunes de seguridad en materia de salud pública (TFUE: art. 4.k)). El 17 de marzo, el Consejo Europeo tomó la incoherente decisión de cerrar las fronteras externas con terceros Estados cuando el virus ya estaba dentro en lugar de suspender temporal e imperativamente el Tratado de Schengen. En el aspecto económico, la desigualdad y el recelo entre los países del norte y del sur con tendencia a endeudarse ha aumentado. La negativa de Holanda, Finlandia, Austria y demás frugales frente a la ayuda incondicional requerida por un país como España que tiene más coches oficiales y políticos que el resto de Europa y Estados Unidos juntos ponía en tela de juicio uno de los principios fundamentales sobre los que se construyó la Unión Europea: la solidaridad.

Europa ha sido la tormenta perfecta en un mar de incertidumbre y España, el ojo del huracán. El fondo de recuperación económico europeo es un término que eclipsa lo que realmente es: un rescate financiero. Un total de 750.000 millones de euros repartidos principalmente entre Italia, Portugal, Francia, Grecia y España, que recibirá 140.000 millones y que devolverán los hijos de nuestros nietos. Parece una fantasía que las primeras ayudas sanitarias que recibió Italia proviniesen de terceros Estados y no de sus socios comunitarios, pero se convirtió en una realidad cuando los primeros aviones de China y Rusia aterrizaron en el aeropuerto de Fiumicino el 13 de marzo. La pandemia está resultando ser un examen de conciencia y credibilidad para la Unión Europea, un barco camino del naufragio con 28 tripulantes intentando achicar el agua que lo hunde lentamente.

Grandes académicos y políticos confirman que los Estados necesitan el multilateralismo para responder de forma conjunta y eficaz a los grandes riesgos y amenazas que han traspasado las fronteras y para mantener la paz global. Sin embargo, esta idea se derrumba al reparar en que el máximo referente del bilateralismo de hoy, Donald J. Trump, ha sido el único presidente estadounidense desde 1980 que no ha iniciado una guerra en su primer mandato, que ha acercado posturas con Corea del Norte y que ha conseguido el reconocimiento de Israel por Bahréin y los Emiratos Árabes Unidos.

Es hora de cambiar la geopolítica hacia soluciones actualizadas y propuestas en el consenso basado en una gobernanza en cooperación y no en una gobernanza global dirigida por instituciones obsoletas y realmente poderosas. El multilateralismo globalista que busca unificar la actuación de países con raíces culturales e históricas muy dispares bajo una misma entidad supranacional a la que éstos ceden soberanía puede causar grandes enfrentamientos en el seno de la entente, provocar la salida de algunos de los miembros descontentos, la posterior extinción de la organización pretendida e, incluso, una enemistad o ruptura de relaciones diplomáticas.

Sin embargo, si los Estados con valores, leyes, normas consuetudinarias o intereses similares deciden agruparse bajo un Tratado o crean una institución regulatoria, incluso cediendo la soberanía justa y necesaria, el entendimiento será mucho más productivo. Así, una red de acuerdos bilaterales entre organizaciones regionales o entre Estados tiene la posibilidad de crear objetivos más precisos y específicos, a diferencia de firmar un tratado globalista en el que las extensas letras y listas de sus artículos y miembros pueden convertirse en humo y una mera declaración de intenciones como ha ocurrido con la Convención de París contra el Cambio Climático en 2015.

Esta última idea es el verdadero y óptimo futuro de las relaciones internacionales: el bilateralismo regional. Un mundo agrupado en organizaciones regionales formadas por países con características y objetivos análogos que negocien y lleguen a acuerdos con otros grupos de regiones mediante el diálogo, el entendimiento pacífico, el arte de la diplomacia y pactos vinculantes sin la necesidad de ceder el alma de un Estado: la soberanía.

Categorías Global Affairs: Orden mundial, diplomacia y gobernanza Comentarios Global

Joe Biden y Barack Obama en febrero de 2009, un mes después de llegar a la Casa Blanca [Pete Souza]

▲ Joe Biden y Barack Obama en febrero de 2009, un mes después de llegar a la Casa Blanca [Pete Souza]

COMENTARIO / Emili J. Blasco

Este artículo fue previamente publicado, algo abreviado, en el diario ‘Expansión’.

Uno de los grandes errores que revelan las elecciones presidenciales de Estados Unidos es haber subestimado la figura de Donald Trump, creyéndole una mera anécdota, y haber desconsiderado, por antojadiza, gran parte de su política. En realidad, el fenómeno Trump es una manifestación, si no una consecuencia, del actual momento estadounidense y algunas de sus principales decisiones, sobre todo en el ámbito internacional, tienen más que ver con imperativos nacionales que con volubles ocurrencias. Esto último sugiere que hay aspectos de política exterior, dejando aparte las maneras, en los que Joe Biden como presidente puede estar más cerca de Trump que de Barack Obama, sencillamente porque el mundo de 2021 es ya algo distinto al de la primera mitad de la anterior década.

En primer lugar, Biden tendrá que confrontar a Pekín. Obama comenzó a hacerlo, pero el carácter más asertivo de la China de Xi Jinping se ha ido acelerando en los últimos años. En el pulso de superpotencias, especialmente por el dominio de la nueva era tecnológica, Estados Unidos se lo juega todo frente a China. Cierto que Biden se ha referido a los chinos no como enemigos sino como competidores, pero la guerra comercial ya la empezó a plantear la Administración de la que él fue vicepresidente y ahora la rivalidad objetiva es mayor.

El repliegue de Estados Unidos tampoco responde a una locura de Trump. En el fondo tiene que ver, simplificando algo, con la independencia energética alcanzada por los estadounidenses: ya no necesitan el petróleo de Oriente Medio y ya no tienen que estar en todos los océanos para asegurar la libre navegación de los tanqueros. El ‘America First’ de algún modo ya lo inició también Obama y Biden no irá en dirección opuesta. Así que, por ejemplo, no cabrá esperar una gran implicación en asuntos de la Unión Europea ni que se retomen negociaciones en firme para un acuerdo de libre comercio entre ambos mercados atlánticos.

En los dos principales logros de la era Obama –el acuerdo nuclear con Irán sellado por Estados Unidos, la UE y Rusia, y el restablecimiento de relaciones diplomáticas entre Washington y La Habana– Biden tendrá difícil transitar por el sendero entonces definido. Puede haber intentos de nueva aproximación a Teherán, pero habría una mayor coordinación en contra por parte de Israel y el mundo suní, instancias que ahora convergen más. Biden podría encontrarse con que una menor presión sobre los ayatolás empuja a Arabia Saudí hacia la bomba atómica.

En cuanto a Cuba, la vuelta a una disensión estará más en las manos del gobierno cubano que del propio Biden, que en la pérdida electoral en Florida ha podido leer un rechazo a cualquier condescendencia con el castrismo. Pueden desmontarse algunas de las nuevas restricciones impuestas por Trump a Cuba, pero si La Habana sigue sin mostrar voluntad real de cambio y apertura, la Casa Blanca ya no tendrá por qué seguir apostando por concesiones políticas a crédito.

En el caso de Venezuela, Biden posiblemente replegará buena parte de las sanciones, pero ya no cabe una política de inacción como la de Obama. Aquella Administración no confrontó más el chavismo por dos razones: porque no quiso molestar a Cuba dadas las negociaciones secretas que mantenía con ese país para reabrir sus embajadas y porque el nivel de letalidad del régimen aún no se había hecho insoportable. Hoy los informes internacionales sobre derechos humanos son unánimes sobre la represión y la tortura del gobierno de Maduro, y además la llegada de millones de refugiados venezolanos a los distintos países de la región obligan a tomar cartas en el asunto. Aquí lo esperable es que Biden pueda actuar de modo menos unilateral y, sin dejar de presionar, busque la coordinación con la Unión Europea.

Suele ocurrir que quien llega a la Casa Blanca se ocupa de los asuntos nacionales en sus primeros años y que más adelante, especialmente en un segundo mandato, se centre en dejar un legado internacional. Por edad y salud, es posible que el nuevo inquilino solo esté un cuadrienio. Sin el idealismo de Obama de querer “doblar el arco de la historia” –Biden es un pragmático, producto del establishment político estadounidense– ni las prisas del empresario Trump por el beneficio inmediato, es difícil imaginar que su Administración vaya a tomar serios riesgos en la escena internacional.

Biden ha confirmado su compromiso de arrancar su presidencia en enero revirtiendo algunas decisiones de Trump, notablemente en lo relativo al cambio climático y el acuerdo de París; en lo que afecta a algunos frentes arancelarios, como el castigo innecesario que la Administración saliente ha aplicado a países europeos, y en relación a diversos asuntos de inmigración, lo que sobre todo incumbe a Centroamérica.

De todos modos, aunque la izquierda demócrata quiera empujar a Biden hacia ciertos márgenes, creyendo tener en la vicepresidenta Kamala Harris una aliada, el presidente electo puede hacer valer su personal moderación: el hecho de que en las elecciones él haya obtenido mejor resultado que el propio partido le da, de momento, suficiente autoridad interna. Por lo demás, los republicanos han resistido bastante bien en el Senado y la Cámara de Representantes, de forma que Biden llega a la Casa Blanca con menos apoyo en el Capitolio que sus antecesores. Eso, en cualquier caso, puede contribuir a reforzar uno de los rasgos en general más valorados hoy del político de Delaware: la predictibilidad, algo que las economías y las cancillerías de buena parte de los países del mundo esperan con ansiedad.

Categorías Global Affairs: Norteamérica Orden mundial, diplomacia y gobernanza Comentarios

El actual mandatario realizó una sola visita, además en el marco del G-20, frente a las seis que Bush y Obama hicieron en sus primeros cuatro años

Los viajes internacionales no lo dicen todo acerca de la política exterior de un mandatario, pero dan alguna pista. Como presidente, Donald Trump únicamente ha viajado una vez a Latinoamérica, y además solo porque la cumbre del G-20 a la que asistía se celebraba en Argentina. No es que Trump no se haya ocupado de la región –desde luego, la política hacia Venezuela ha estado muy presente en su gestión–, pero el no haber hecho el esfuerzo de desplazarse a otros países del continente refleja bien el carácter más unilateral de su política, poca volcada en ganar simpatías entre sus pares.

Firma en México en 2018 del tratado de libre comercio entre los tres países de Norteamérica [Departamento de Estado, EEUU]

▲ Firma en México en 2018 del tratado de libre comercio entre los tres países de Norteamérica [Departamento de Estado, EEUU]

ARTÍCULO Miguel García-Miguel

Con tan solo una visita a la región, el mandatario estadounidense es el que menos visitas oficiales ha realizado desde la primera legislatura de Clinton, quien también la visitó una sola vez. Por el contrario, Bush y Obama presentaron más atención al territorio vecino, ambos con seis visitas en su primera legislatura. Trump centró su campaña diplomática en Asia y Europa y reservó lo asuntos de Latinoamérica a visitas de los presidentes de la región a la Casa Blanca o a su ‘resort’ de Mar-a-Lago.

En realidad, la Administración Trump dedicó tiempo a asuntos latinoamericanos, tomando posturas más rápidamente que la Administración Obama, pues el empeoramiento del problema de Venezuela requería definir acciones. Al mismo tiempo, Trump ha tratado asuntos de la región con presidentes latinoamericanos en visitas de estos a Estados Unidos. No ha habido, sin embargo, un esfuerzo de multilateralidad o empatía, saliendo a su encuentro en sus países de origen para tratar allí de sus problemas.

Clinton: Haití

El presidente demócrata realizó una única visita a la región en su primer mandato. Acabada la operación Uphold Democracy para devolver al poder a Jean-Bertrand Aristide, el 31 de marzo 1995 Bill Clinton viajó a Haití para la ceremonia de transición organizada por Naciones Unidas. La operación había consistido en una intervención militar de Estados Unidos, Polonia y Argentina, con la aprobación de la ONU, para derrocar a la junta militar que había depuesto por la fuerza a Aristide, quien había sido elegido democráticamente. Durante su segundo mandato, Clinton prestó más atención a los asuntos de la región, con trece visitas.

Bush: tratados de libre comercio

Bush realizó su primer viaje presidencial al país vecino, México, donde se entrevistó con el entonces presidente Fox para tratar diversos temas. México prestó atención al trato del gobierno estadounidense a los inmigrantes mexicanos, pero ambos presidentes también discutieron sobre el funcionamiento del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN o, en inglés, NAFTA), entrado en vigor en 1994, y de aunar esfuerzos en la lucha contra el narcotráfico. El presidente de EEUU tuvo la oportunidad de visitar México tres veces más durante su primer mandato con el fin de asistir a reuniones multilaterales. En concreto, asistió en marzo de 2002 a la Conferencia Internacional sobre la Financiación para el Desarrollo, organizada por las Naciones Unidas y que resultó en el Consenso de Monterrey; además Bush aprovechó la oportunidad para volver a entrevistarse con el presidente mexicano. En octubre del mismo año asistió a la cumbre del foro APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), que ese año se celebraba en el enclave mexicano de Los Cabos. Por último, pisó de nuevo territorio mexicano para acudir a la Cumbre Extraordinaria de las Américas que tuvo lugar en Monterrey en 2004.

Durante su primera legislatura Bush impulsó la negociación de nuevos tratados de libre comercio con diversos países americanos, que fue lo que marcó la política de su Administración en relación con el Hemisferio Occidental. En el marco de esa política viajó a Perú y a El Salvador los días 23 y 24 de marzo del 2002. En Perú se reunió con el presidente de ese país y con los presidentes de Colombia, Bolivia y Ecuador, con el fin de llegar a un acuerdo que renovase la ATPA (Andean Trade Promotion Act), por la cual EEUU otorgaba libertad arancelaria en una amplia gama de las exportaciones de esos países. Finalmente, el asunto se resolvió con la promulgación en octubre del mismo año de la ATPDEA (Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Erradication Act), que mantuvo las libertades arancelarias en compensación por la lucha contra el narcotráfico, intentando desarrollar económicamente la región para crear alternativas a la producción de cocaína. Por último, en el caso de El Salvador se reunió con los presidentes centroamericanos para discutir la posibilidad de un Tratado de Libre Comercio con la región (conocido en inglés como CAFTA) a cambio de un refuerzo de la seguridad en los ámbitos de la lucha contra el narcotráfico y el terrorismo. El Tratado fue ratificado tres años más tarde por el Congreso estadounidense. Bush volvió a visitar Latinoamérica hasta once veces durante su segundo mandato.


Gráfico 1. Elaboración propia con datos de Office of the Historian


Obama: dos Cumbres de las Américas

Obama comenzó su recorrido de visitas diplomáticas a territorio latinoamericano con la asistencia a la V Cumbre de las Américas, celebrada en Puerto Príncipe (Trinidad y Tobago). En la Cumbre se reunieron todos los líderes de los países soberanos americanos a excepción de Cuba y tuvo como fin la coordinación de esfuerzos para la recuperación de la reciente crisis del 2008 con menciones a la importancia de la sostenibilidad ambiental y energética. Obama volvió a asistir en 2012 a la VI Cumbre de las Américas que se celebró esta vez en Cartagena de Indias (Colombia). A esta Cumbre no acudió ningún representante de Ecuador ni de Nicaragua en protesta por la exclusión hasta la fecha de Cuba. Tampoco acudió el presidente de Haití ni el presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez alegando motivos médicos. En la cumbre se volvieron a discutir temas de economía y seguridad teniendo especial relevancia la guerra contra las drogas y el crimen organizado, así como el desarrollo de políticas ambientales. Además, aprovechó esta visita para anunciar junto a Juan Manuel Santos, la entrada en efecto del Tratado de Libre Comercio entre Colombia y EEUU, negociado por la Administración Bush y ratificado tras cierta demora por el Congreso estadounidense. El presidente demócrata también tuvo la ocasión de visitar la región con motivo de la reunión del G-20 en México, pero esta vez el tema central rondó en torno a las soluciones para frenar la crisis de la deuda europea.

En cuanto a las reuniones bilaterales, Obama realizó una gira diplomática entre el 19 y el 23 de marzo de 2010 por Brasil, Chile y El Salvador, entrevistándose con sus respectivos presidentes. Aprovechó la ocasión para retomar las relaciones con la izquierda brasileña que gobernaba el país desde el 2002, reiterar su alianza económica y política con Chile y anunciar un fondo de 200 millones de dólares para reforzar la seguridad en Centroamérica. Durante su segundo mandato realizó hasta siete visitas, entre las que cabe destacar la reanudación de las relaciones diplomáticas con Cuba, pausadas desde el triunfo de la Revolución.

Trump: T-MEC

Donald Trump tan solo visitó Latinoamérica en una ocasión para asistir a la reunión del G-20, una convocatoria que ni siquiera era regional, celebrada en Buenos Aires en diciembre de 2018. Entre los diversos acuerdos alcanzados destacan la reforma de la Organización Mundial de Comercio y el compromiso de los asistentes de implementar las medidas adoptadas en el Acuerdo de París, a excepción de EEUU, puesto que el presidente ya había reiterado su empeño en salirse del acuerdo. Aprovechando la visita, firmó el T-MEC (Tratado entre México, Estados Unidos y Canadá, nuevo nombre para el renovado TLCAN, cuya renegociación había sido una exigencia de Trump) y se reunió con el presidente chino en el contexto de la guerra comercial. Trump, en cambio, no acudió a la VIII Cumbre de las Américas celebrada en Perú en abril de 2018; el viaje, que debía llevarle también a Colombia, fue cancelado a última hora porque el presidente estadounidense prefirió permanecer en Washington ante una posible escalada de la crisis siria.

El motivo de las pocas vistas a la región ha sido que Trump ha dirigido su campaña diplomática hacia Europa, Asia y en menor medida Oriente Medio, en el contexto de la guerra comercial con China y de la pérdida de poder en el panorama internacional de EEUU.


Gráfico 2. Elaboración propia con datos de Office of the Historian


Solo un viaje, pero seguimiento de la región

A pesar de apenas haber viajado al resto del continente, el candidato republicano sí ha prestado atención a los asuntos de la región pero sin moverse de Washington, pues han sido hasta siete los presidentes latinoamericanos que han pasado por la Casa Blanca. Las reuniones han tenido como foco principal el desarrollo económico y el reforzamiento de la seguridad, como es habitual. Atendiendo a la realidad de cada país las reuniones giraron más entorno a la posibilidad de futuros tratados de comercio, la lucha contra la droga y el crimen organizado, evitar el flujo de inmigración ilegal que llega hasta Estados Unidos o la búsqueda de reforzar alianzas políticas. Aunque la web del gobierno estadounidense no la catalogue como una visita oficial, Donald Trump también llegó a reunirse en la Casa Blanca en febrero de este mismo 2020 con Juan Guaidó, reconocido como presidente encargado de Venezuela.

Justamente, si ha habido un tema común a todas estas reuniones, ese ha sido la situación de crisis económica y política en Venezuela. Trump ha buscado aliados en la región para cercar y presionar al gobierno de Maduro el cual no solo es un ejemplo de continuas violaciones de los derechos humanos, sino que además desestabiliza la región. La férrea oposición al régimen le sirvió a Donald Trump como propaganda para ganar popularidad e intentar salvar el voto latino en las elecciones del 3 de noviembre, y eso tuvo su premio al menos en el estado de Florida.


Gráfico 3. Elaboración propia con datos de Office of the Historian

Categorías Global Affairs: Norteamérica Orden mundial, diplomacia y gobernanza Artículos Latinoamérica

COMENTARIO / Rafael Calduch Torres*

Tal y como manda la tradición desde 1845, el primer martes de noviembre, el próximo día 3, los habitantes con derecho a voto de los cincuenta estados que conforman Estados Unidos, tomarán parte en el quincuagésimo noveno Election Day, el día en el que se conforma el Colegio Electoral, que tendrá que elegir entre mantener al cuadragésimo quinto Presidente de los Estados Unidos de América, Donald Trump, o escoger al cuadragésimo sexto, Joe Biden.


Pero el verdadero problema al que se enfrentan no sólo los habitantes de EEUU, sino el resto de población del planeta es que tanto Trump como Biden plantean su estrategia internacional en clave interna, siguiendo la estela del cambio que se produjo en el país a raíz de los atentados del 11-S y cuyo resultado fundamental ha sido la ausencia de un liderazgo efectivo de la superpotencia americana en los últimos veinte años. Porque si hay algo que nos tiene que quedar claro es el hecho de que ninguno de los candidatos, como no lo hicieron sus predecesores, tiene un plan que permita retomar el liderazgo internacional del que disfrutaron los Estados Unidos hasta el final de la década de los ’90; por el contrario lo que les urge es resolver los problemas domésticos y supeditar las cuestiones internacionales, que una superpotencia de la talla de los EEUU debe afrontar, a las soluciones que se adopten internamente, lo que es uno de los graves errores estratégicos de nuestra era, pues los liderazgos internacionales fuertes y coherentes con la gestión de los problemas internos han permitido históricamente la creación de puntos de encuentro en la sociedad estadounidense que amortiguan las divisiones y cohesionan al país.

Sin embargo, pese a estas similitudes generales hay una clara diferencia entre ambos candidatos a la hora de abordar los temas internacionales que afectará a los resultados de la elección que harán el martes los estadounidenses.

The Power of America’s example”. Con este eslogan, la propuesta general de Biden, mucho más clara y accesible que la de Trump, desarrolla un plan para liderar el mundo democrático en el S. XXI basado en utilizar la forma en la que se solucionarán los problemas domésticos estadounidenses como ejemplo, aglutinante y sostén de su liderazgo internacional; ni que decir tiene que la mera suposición de que los problemas internos de los Estados Unidos no sean exactamente extrapolables al resto de actores internacionales no se tiene tan siquiera en cuenta.

Así el candidato demócrata, utilizando una retórica bastante tradicional en torno a la dignificación del liderazgo, utiliza la conexión entre realidad interna e internacional, para plantear un programa de regeneración nacional sin concretar cómo ello conseguirá restablecer el liderazgo internacional perdido. Este planteamiento se sustentará sobre dos pilares principales que serán la regeneración democrática del país y la reconstrucción de la clase media estadounidense que, a su vez, permitirán apuntalar otros proyectos internacionales

La regeneración democrática descansará en el refuerzo de los sistemas educativo y judicial, la transparencia, la lucha contra la corrupción o el fin de los ataques a los medios y se plantea como el instrumento para el restablecimiento del liderazgo moral del país que, además de inspirar a otros, serviría para que los EE.UU. trasladasen esas políticas nacionales estadounidenses al ámbito internacional, para que otros las sigan y las imiten a través de una suerte de liga global por la democracia que se nos antoja muy nebulosa.

Mientras tanto, la reconstrucción de la clase media, la misma a la que apeló Trump hace cuatro años, pasaría por una mayor inversión en innovación tecnológica y una supuesta mayor equidad global respecto al comercio internacional, del que se beneficiaría sobre todo Estados Unidos.

Finalmente, todo lo anterior se complementaría con una nueva era en el control armamentístico internacional a través de un nuevo tratado START entre EEUU y Rusia, el liderazgo de EEUU en la lucha contra el cambio climático, el fin de las intervenciones en suelo extranjero, particularmente en Afganistán, y el restablecimiento de la diplomacia como elemento vertebrador de la política exterior estadounidense.

Promises Made, promises kept!”. ¿Cuál es la alternativa de Trump? El actual Presidente no desvela cuáles son sus proyectos y plantea, sin embargo, un repaso a sus “logros” que, entendemos, nos dará idea de lo que será su política exterior que girará en torno a la continuidad en el reequilibrio comercial de los EEUU basado, como hasta ahora, en un blindaje de las compañías estadounidenses frente la inversión extranjera, la imposición de nuevos aranceles, la lucha contra prácticas comerciales fraudulentas especialmente por parte de China y el restablecimiento de las relaciones de EEUU con sus aliados en Asia/Pacífico, Oriente Medio y Europa, pero sin propuestas específicas.

Con respecto al ámbito de la seguridad, tratado de forma diferenciada por Trump, la receta es el aumento de los gastos en defensa, el blindaje del territorio de los Estados Unidos contra el terrorismo y la oposición a Corea del Norte, Venezuela e Irán, a la que se unirá el mantenimiento y expansión de la reciente campaña de acciones dirigidas específicamente contra Rusia, con el objetivo declarado de contenerla en Ucrania y de evitar ciberataques.

Pero la realidad es que ambos candidatos tendrán que enfrentar retos globales que no han considerado en sus programas y que les condicionarán decisivamente en sus mandatos, empezando por la gestión de la pandemia y sus efectos económicos a escala mundial y pasando por la creciente competición de la Unión Europea, sobre todo a medida que se desarrollen sus capacidades militares y de defensa comunes.

Como acabamos de evidenciar, ninguno de los candidatos ofrecerá soluciones nuevas y por ello no es probable que la situación mejore, al menos en el corto plazo.

* Doctor en Historia Contemporánea. Licenciado en Ciencias Políticas y de la Administración. Profesor de la UNAV y de la UCJC

Categorías Global Affairs: Norteamérica Orden mundial, diplomacia y gobernanza Comentarios

WORKING PAPER / María del Pilar Cazali


[Download the document]



The Brexit deal has led to a shift in the UK’s relationship not only with the European Union but also with other countries around the world. Africa is key in the new relationships the UK is trying to build outside from the EU due to their historical past, the current Commonwealth link, and the important potential trade deals. This article looks to answer how hard the UK will struggle with competition in the African country as an individual state, no longer member of the EU. These struggles will be especially focused on trading aspects, as they are the most important factors currently for the UK in the post-Brexit era, and it’s also the strongest focus of the EU in Africa.

Categorías Global Affairs: Unión Europea Orden mundial, diplomacia y gobernanza Documentos de trabajo